Heroes – The Bicycle Mechanic

1 06 2008

I have decided to start a series entitled “heroes”. Not the comicbook kind but normal everyday people. This series is dedicated to whose who have shown great courage and inner strength in the face of adversity, those who have sacrificed their lives so others may also live and above all those who in living their lives the way they do, show us the meaning of “living”.

In starting this series, I shall digress a little into socio politics. I live in a country whose “affirmative action” policy has led to the handicapping of the very people it purports to help. Far worse than a physical handicap, the way in which the policy has been practiced has psychologically handicapped the so called ethnic people of this country. Why do I say this? Built in to most human beings is a want to be healthy. When we are sick, nothing is of more urgency then “getting better”. Those who have lost the use of an appendage would do anything to regain its use. I had a friend who would rather use his prosthetic leg (he had lost the lower half of his left leg in an accident involving a drunk driver) even though it was much harder on him then using a wheel chair or a pair of crutches. On cold winter days the use of prosthetic leg would chafe on his stump until is was red and almost bleeding. It was so painful at times that sometimes he had to ask for help to remove his artificial appendage. The only time I have seen him use a crutch was when he was at home. Outside among others, he wanted to stand on his own two feet.

But the affirmative action policy has created a whole generation of people who do not seem to want to throw away the crutch so conveniently handed to them. They seem contented, even demanding that they be given the lifelong use of this crutch. But is this living? No, this posting is not about these unfortunate group of people, it is not even about my friend who is handicapped. It is about this nameless man who has taught himself the skill of repairing and changing bicycle tires and inner tubes.

From a puncture to a fully repaired and mounted tyre with his feet.

Yes, He earns what must be a meagre living with the use of his feet! Most of us would say a silent prayer of thankfulness that we healthy and have the use of all our limbs. But to me this man is truly a hero. More than just being thankful, we should learn from this brave and resourceful man. Here is a person who has not only refused to live on charity, but has risen above his physical disabilities to earn himself an honest and unencumbered income. Surely in each of us there is a mental crutch that we can do without but afraid to discard.

And to those in Government who supports the continuation of such a policy or at least the way the policy is being practiced, I have this to say. Sure all of us would love a free handout once in a while, and most of us do need a helping hand when things get a little rough but to extend that help to the point where someone becomes dependent on it is surely the greatest disservice anyone can bring unto another human being. For then he or she is truly handicapped for life.




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